Queens of Georgian Britain by Catherine Curzon: A Book Review

Queens of Georgian Britain
Author: Catherine Curzon
Genre: Nonfiction, History, Biography
Publisher: Pen and Sword History
Release Date: 2017
Pages: 240
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Once upon a time there were four kings called George who, thanks to a quirk of fate, ruled Great Britain for over a century. Hailing from Germany, these occasionally mad, bad and infamous sovereigns presided over a land in turmoil. Yet what of the remarkable women who were crowned alongside them?

     From the forgotten princess locked in a tower to an illustrious regent, a devoted consort and a notorious party girl, the queens of Georgian Britain lived lives of scandal, romance and turbulent drama. Whether dipping into politics or carousing on the shores of Italy, Caroline of Ansbach, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Caroline of Brunswick refused to fade into the background.

     Queens of Georgian Britain offers a chance to step back in time and meet the women who ruled alongside the Georgian monarchs, not forgetting Sophia Dorothea of Celle, the passionate princess who never made it as far as the throne. From lonely childhoods to glittering palaces, via family feuds, smallpox, strapping soldiers and plenty of scheming, these are the queens who shaped an era.

     My Review: We have heard about the mad king George III and his son George IV. However,  we tend to forget the queens who reigned alongside them. Thus, Mrs. Curzon  gives us a biography of the four queens during the Hanoverian reign, starting with Sophia Dorothea of Celle, the wife of George I and the princess who never made it to the throne. Mrs. Curzon shows that each of these queens faced many challenges and were strong women in their own right.

     While reading these short biographies, I was fascinated and sympathetic to these women. Most of them went through many hardships, and I was astounded how they dealt with them. For instance, Sophia Dorothea of Celle spent most of her life under house arrest. Caroline of Ansbach had to endure her husband George II’s mistresses. Charlotte had to endure George III’s madness. She was so afraid of being alone with him that she always insisted her daughters accompany her. Caroline of Brunswick had to endure George IV putting her on public trial for adultery so that he could divorce her. Therefore, my heart broke for these women as I learned of their unhappy stories. Even though these women were dazzled by the glittering prospect of becoming queen, their lives were not as shimmering as they hoped. They realized the crown was merely an illusion. In fact, Caroline of Brunswick deeply regretted marrying George IV.

     Overall, this was a very sympathetic look at each Hanoverian queen. The biographies are short, but very detailed. The writing was very witty, engaging, and insightful. I did not know anything about the Georgian queens. However, it deepened my interest, and I’m curious to learn more about them. This book is recommended to novices like me who do not know much about the era. Thus, if you have never heard of the queens, I suggest you have a cup of tea and get lost in reading about these extraordinary women. I bet that you will also be astounded by their stories as I was. Queens of Georgian Britain proves that these queens should never be forgotten.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars




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